Amid California drought, fears rise of trees dying, falling

TreePeople volunteers water a tree at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center Martinez Arena in Griffith Park, Friday, July 31, 2015, in Los Angeles. As Californians and the communities they live in cut back water usage and let lawns go golden, arborists and state officials are worrying about a potentially dangerous ripple effect. Nearby trees are […]

Lodgepole Pine Forest from Cascade Mountain

Without Sufficient Water, California Trees Face Additional Challenges

In fact, recent estimates by U.S. Forest Service suggest that the drought has killed off at least 12 million trees from National Forest lands. Before the end of the summer, millions more are expected to perish. And although they are not true trees, Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia) – perhaps the most iconic denizens of the desert and well suited for amazingly arid conditions – are even starting to die, courtesy of the drought.

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Irricades: An Aussie Solution to a Californian Problem

As we strive to cope with the current drought – which has now lasted about 4 years – we must be sure that our state’s street trees do not get lost in the shuffle. Not only do street trees improve property values, reduce crime and improve the health of those living near them, they help mitigate some of the effects of the drought.

Wildfire in California

Fire Suppression Strategies Exacerbate the Drought

Trees confer a variety of benefits on cities and suburban areas; they reduce local temperatures, provide shade and provide food and shelter for wildlife. Given a few basic caveats, such as selecting the right tree species for the available space and planting the trees properly, most tree professionals heartily encourage the planting of more trees near our homes, schools, playgrounds and shopping malls.

foggy forest

The Coastal Redwood Forest’s Foggy Future

Most of California’s trees have evolved to live in our periodically parched state. Some species, such as wax myrtles (Myrica californica), produce glossy leaves which reduce water loses, while others, such as black oaks (Quercus kelloggii), send roots deep into the ground to access water few other plants can.

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Drought and Wildfire

The current Californian drought presents more problems than are apparent at first glance. One factor that contributes to the danger of wildfires is the fire-suppression strategies of the recent past.

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Drought-Tolerant Trees

California is not the only place in the world with drought-tolerant trees, and many exotic species are equally suited for surviving low-water periods.

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Helping Your Trees Survive the Drought

99.8 percent of California is suffering from some state of drought, and it is taking a toll on our trees. Indeed, without concerted efforts, our state stands to lose much of its natural and urban forests. Unfortunately, the best thing for our trees – copious amounts of water – is not available.

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International Perspectives on the Drought

As the drought becomes more and more severe, and citizens and policy makers try to figure out mitigation strategies, it is helpful to examine the approaches that have helped other regions survive these parched periods. While it may not be advantageous to mimic their strategies in all respects, it is valuable to learn what has and has not worked in other places.

True Cypresses

Although many different tree species include the word “cypress” in their common name, the true cypresses are a closely related subgroup of these trees. Historically, the term “true” cypresses referred to conifers of the genus Cupressus. However, the classification scheme for these trees and their close relatives has been revised several times, and different authorities […]